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Press Release

Heads of States and Government from African Union Member States Endorse the Cairo Declaration on Viral Hepatitis. 

14 February 2020 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The Draft Cairo Declaration on Viral Hepatitis has been endorsed for implementation by Heads of State and Government of the African Union Member States gathered at the just concluded 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Declaration was first endorsed by the Ministers of Health of the African Union Member States meeting at the Third Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt convened by the African Union Commission in August 2019.

The adoption of the Declaration places the elimination of Viral Hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 at the forefront of political leadership and global development priorities. Progress attained will contribute to fulfillment of the African Union Heads of State and Government decision – Assembly/AU/14(XXIII) – to accelerate effective implementation of the Abuja Commitments on AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Viral Hepatitis and other infectious diseases. It will, most importantly, ease the disease burden levied on the 71 million people in Africa currently afflicted by Hepatitis.

Hepatitis is preventable, treatable, and in the case of Hepatitis C, curable. However, over 80% of people living with Hepatitis are lacking prevention, testing and treatment services. In addition, only 18 African countries have formulated a National Hepatitis Strategic Plan and of these countries, only 3 country plans are funded. Without targeted strategies to find the undiagnosed and link them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost.

The Declaration calls on governments in Africa to including testing and treatment for Viral Hepatitis to an ambitious Universal Health Coverage package as this will increase resource use by 1%, decrease deaths by 5% and improve healthy life years by 10% leading to direct and indirect economic benefits. The World Health Organisation estimates that an additional funding of US$6 billion per year will be needed in low- and middle-income countries between 2016 and 2030, in order to achieve hepatitis elimination targets. Recognizing this, the Declaration calls for multi-sector partnerships along the demand-supply chain to remove financial barriers and increase access to quality care. It also calls on strong advocacy so that the continent is educated about the Viral Hepatitis prevention and treatment options.

The countdown to an Africa that is free of Viral Hepatitis by 2030 continues, leaving no one behind.

#End

For inquiries contact:

Ms. Whitney Mwangi

AIDS Watch Africa – African Union Commission

E-mail: WhitneyM@africa-union.org

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….About AIDS Watch Africa

Website: https://au.int/en/sa/awa and www.aidswatchafrica.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidswatchafrica

Twitter: @aidswatchafrica

AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030.  AWA was created following a special summit of African Heads of State and Government in April 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria, to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related infectious diseases.

The AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee (AWA Action Committee) serves as the primary structure of AWA. The AU Chairperson serves as the AWA Chairperson. The Secretariat is located within the AUC Department of Social Affairs, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.

The overall objective of the AWA Experts Consultative Meeting is to undertake in-depth discussion around issues impeding the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as public health threats in Africa. The meeting is annual and provides a platform to highlight issues that should be tabled to Heads of States and Government in AU Member States during the successive AU Summit.

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Press Release

Heads of States and Government from African Union Member States Endorse the Cairo Declaration on Viral Hepatitis. 

14 February 2020 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The Draft Cairo Declaration on Viral Hepatitis has been endorsed for implementation by Heads of State and Government of the African Union Member States gathered at the just concluded 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Declaration was first endorsed by the Ministers of Health of the African Union Member States meeting at the Third Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt convened by the African Union Commission in August 2019.

The adoption of the Declaration places the elimination of Viral Hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 at the forefront of political leadership and global development priorities. Progress attained will contribute to fulfillment of the African Union Heads of State and Government decision – Assembly/AU/14(XXIII) – to accelerate effective implementation of the Abuja Commitments on AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Viral Hepatitis and other infectious diseases. It will, most importantly, ease the disease burden levied on the 71 million people in Africa currently afflicted by Hepatitis.

Hepatitis is preventable, treatable, and in the case of Hepatitis C, curable. However, over 80% of people living with Hepatitis are lacking prevention, testing and treatment services. In addition, only 18 African countries have formulated a National Hepatitis Strategic Plan and of these countries, only 3 country plans are funded. Without targeted strategies to find the undiagnosed and link them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost.

The Declaration calls on governments in Africa to including testing and treatment for Viral Hepatitis to an ambitious Universal Health Coverage package as this will increase resource use by 1%, decrease deaths by 5% and improve healthy life years by 10% leading to direct and indirect economic benefits. The World Health Organisation estimates that an additional funding of US$6 billion per year will be needed in low- and middle-income countries between 2016 and 2030, in order to achieve hepatitis elimination targets. Recognizing this, the Declaration calls for multi-sector partnerships along the demand-supply chain to remove financial barriers and increase access to quality care. It also calls on strong advocacy so that the continent is educated about the Viral Hepatitis prevention and treatment options.

The countdown to an Africa that is free of Viral Hepatitis by 2030 continues, leaving no one behind.

#End

For inquiries contact:

Ms. Whitney Mwangi

AIDS Watch Africa – African Union Commission

E-mail: WhitneyM@africa-union.org

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

About AIDS Watch Africa

Website: https://au.int/en/sa/awa and www.aidswatchafrica.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidswatchafrica

Twitter: @aidswatchafrica

AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030.  AWA was created following a special summit of African Heads of State and Government in April 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria, to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related infectious diseases.

The AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee (AWA Action Committee) serves as the primary structure of AWA. The AU Chairperson serves as the AWA Chairperson. The Secretariat is located within the AUC Department of Social Affairs, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.

The overall objective of the AWA Experts Consultative Meeting is to undertake in-depth discussion around issues impeding the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as public health threats in Africa. The meeting is annual and provides a platform to highlight issues that should be tabled to Heads of States and Government in AU Member States during the successive AU Summit.

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With 2030 around the corner, it is time to formulate firm ambitions.

Editorial by H.E. Mrs Amira Elfadil Mohamed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission

Hope for an Africa free of disease burden is the only one thing that keeps us rising back up after every public health crisis we have encountered as a continent. Countries and communities have come together over the years to mobilize financial resources, instigate innovations and participate in designing health services that meet their needs. Together, we have gained public health breakthroughs and saved lives. It will be no different, in 2020 and beyond.

2020 is unique and we, at the Commission are making sure that we start the New Year right with bold resolutions and fresh ideas to help us attain our goals. Our eyes are set on all the continental health policy commitments and respective health-related goals to be attained by 2030. With only ten years to go, we are working out strategies to ensure that the roadmap for ending disease burden, increasing political will and financial adequacy is in our grasp.

Specifically, we are looking into the progress made by African Union (AU) Member States in implementing the Africa Health Strategy 2016 – 2030. The policy framework provides strategic direction to AU Member States in their efforts in creating better performing health sectors and addressing key challenges facing efforts to reduce the continent’s disease burden.  It is premised on: Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want; Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Continental Policy Framework; Maputo Plan of Action (2016-2030); Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA; African Regional Nutrition Strategy 2015 – 2025 (ARNS), the various AU Abuja commitments, calls, declarations aimed at combatting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa; Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health 2016 – 2030; and Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030.

The Commission will also engage AU Member States on the successes, challenges as well as existing opportunities and challenges regarding implementation of the Catalytic Framework. This  Framework was endorsed by Heads of States and Government in 2016 to intensify Africa-wide consensus towards eliminating the three diseases as public health threats by 2030. The collected information will be used in the review of the Framework to ensure positive outcomes come 2030.

2020 is also critical in firming up the African Union’s efforts towards realising a conflict-free Africa. End of conflict, or reduction of it, will free-up resources for many African countries which can be re-directed to meeting socio-economic and development needs. It will also broaden the path of successful implementation of the ALM Declaration among AU Member States. The ALM Declaration was endorsed by African Heads of States and Government in February 2019 as an indication of commitment to spur a reorientation of Africa’s health systems and health spending. The Commission was tasked with the responsibility to advocate for adoption of the ALM Declaration and its asks among AU Member States.

On that account, the ALM Declaration agenda is also high on our list of priorities. The Commission will conduct its first RECs assessment mission in February to evaluate the capacity of the East Africa Community to host a regional health financing hub. In addition, the formation of technical working groups and subcommittees is currently ongoing. The members will shape and lead the strategic direction in which implementation of the ALM Declaration heads. Towards the end of the year, there will be a high-level statutory meeting of Ministers of Health and Finance from AU Member States to discuss how they can work together to bring the asks of the ALM Declaration to life.

Evidently, much is on our plate but it is all achievable especially at a time when the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is setting up more Regional Collaborating Centres (RCCs) within the continent. RCCs are technical support institutions for the Africa CDC that support surveillance, laboratory systems and networks, information systems, emergency preparedness and response, capacity development and public health research in AU Member States. The operationalization of the RCCs in all five regions of Africa is contributing immensely to empowering the leadership role of Africa CDC as an Africa-owned institution that prevents, detects, and responds to public health threats, hence strengthening global health security.

We have made it this far with the relentless support of our global partners. The scale and ambition of continental and global commitments require a strong network of partners in the areas of research, technology, innovation, finance and human capacity to advance sustainable solutions to cross-cutting development issues. The past decade consisted of valuable multi-stakeholder partnerships which have enhanced the Commission’s ability to achieve its full potential in delivering sustainable solutions to Africa’s most complex and pressing socio-economic challenges. Nurturing impactful partnerships will remain a priority for the Commission.

As we walk into a new decade, Africa should keep hope alive for the sake of sustaining momentum towards attaining the Africa we want. The African Union Commission will continue to work tirelessly in collaboration with our global partners so that come 2030, it will not only be a continental sense of pride but a global celebration too. The health of the continent, and of the world, depends on all of us keeping our commitments.

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Dec 01, 2019 – H.E Amira Elfadil Mohamed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission

Thirty years ago, when HIV first emerged, fear and repression triggered calls to “arrest, test, quarantine, isolate”. Today, we have brought to light the darkness of discrimination through open conversation, evidence-based advocacy and community engagement.

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WORLD AIDS DAY 2019 OFFICIAL STATEMENT: By H.E Amira Elfadil Mohamed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission

Thirty years ago, when HIV first emerged, fear and repression triggered calls to “arrest, test, quarantine, isolate”. Today, we have brought to light the darkness of discrimination through open conversation, evidence-based advocacy and community engagement. None of this could have happened without the leadership of people living with HIV, partners, and advocates on the ground around the world who believed that we could effectively fight stigma—and who made sure that we did.

Today, the African Union Commission joins the world to celebrate the World AIDS Day and the invaluable role played by communities around the world in the HIV response. The Commission is commemorating the day under the theme: “Preventing AIDS Among Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: African Communities at the Fore Front” to honour our brothers and sisters enduring HIV-related afflictions as a consequence of war and conflict in Africa.

Displacement of people from their country of origin has an enormous effect on their lives, as well as upon the lives of host communities. Conflict and displacement make women and children highly vulnerable to the risk of HIV.  As refugees struggle to meet their basic needs such as food, water and shelter, women and girls are often forced to exchange sexual services for money, food or protection. Many host countries are already overburdened by the impact of HIV, and are often unable or unwilling to provide the HIV-related services refugees need and to which they have a right under international refugee and human rights law. This has to change. Where communities are engaged, we see change happen. We see investments leading to results. And we see equality, respect and dignity.

On this day, the Commission reiterates commitment to eliminating this disease in the years to come. We are leading implementation of the AU Agenda 2063 Framework and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. Both policy frameworks place health at the forefront of all social and economic investment priorities for Africa’s governments. The Frameworks also place communities at the heart of solutions to make sure that interventions are localized and effective.

We have a strong backing of regional and global policy frameworks. However, the place of partnerships in the fight against AIDS in Africa is crucial. It must not be overlooked. Through partnership with UNAIDS, the Commission is implementing the Western and Central Africa Catch-Up Plan which is a political instrument between various AU Member States and the international community that supports countries strategies to accelerate national responses and reach a trajectory to achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

Our great success in preventing HIV transmission from mothers to babies demonstrates that we can make progress.  Also, through partnership with the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), the Commission is implementing the Free to Shine Campaign through which the political commitment of African nations to end childhood AIDS and keep mothers healthy is reinforced. The Campaign is active in 22 AU Member States. We will continue working with governments and other partners to scale-up treatment and prevention efforts among older children in communities worldwide — with a particular emphasis on areas.

In addition, the Commission hosts the Secretariat of AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) – a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030. Through AWA, we are implementing the asks of the ALM Declaration which is a call for prioritization of health financing as a path to strengthening health systems in Africa, as well as attaining health for all.

As I conclude, I would like to emphasize that we are now in an era where changing health needs, growing public expectations, and ambitious new health goals are raising the bar for health systems to produce better health outcomes and greater social value. It is thus paramount that we examine the health needs and expectations of the community and consequentially seek to satisfy the demand. An AIDS-free generation is in sight. But with only 11 years to 2030, we must re-commit to this goal, and work together to make it happen.

#End

For media and interview inquiry contact:
Ms. Whitney Mwangi
AIDS Watch Africa – African Union Commission
E-mail: WhitneyM@africa-union.org

About AIDS Watch Africa

AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030.  AWA was created following a special summit of African Heads of State and Government in April 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria, to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related infectious diseases.

The AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee (AWA Action Committee) serves as the primary structure of AWA. The AU Chairperson serves as the AWA Chairperson. The Secretariat is located within the AUC Department of Social Affairs, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.

The overall objective of the AWA Experts Consultative Meeting is to undertake in-depth discussion around issues impeding the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as public health threats in Africa. The meeting is annual and provides a platform to highlight issues that should be tabled to Heads of States and Government in AU Member States during the successive AU Summit.

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Health Experts in AIDS, tuberculosis and Malaria convene for the 2019 AIDS Watch Africa Experts Consultative Meeting to deliberate on matters which require renewed political commitment by Africa’s Heads of States and Government.

14 November 2019 – Kigali, Rwanda: By the time you finish reading this sentence, nearly three people will
have died either of AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria in Africa. This is unacceptable and has to change. To advance
the African-led fight against the three diseases, AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is convening experts working in the
three diseases across African Union Member States for a two-day consultative meeting to take stock on issues
which need the attention of AU Member States’ Heads of States and Governments during the AU Summit in
February 2020.

“African countries are fast-evolving to a cross-border exchange economy which means that we have to combat
diseases jointly to ensure health for all. This forum is a good opportunity for African countries to exchange
experience and expertise to control and manage diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” remarked Dr.
Ayat Haggag, Undersecretary for Endemic Diseases, Ministry of Health and Population, Egypt.

Dr. Benjamin Djoudalbaye, Head of Health Policy and Diplomacy Africa CDC urged experts and partners to use
their humanly possible strength, wisdom and technical expertise to assist the African Union Commission to
achieve the set objectives of the meeting.

“Your contribution will shape strategic undertaking of the Commission to enhance regional integration and
facilitate policy and strategy setting, coordination, consensus building and advocacy, as well as monitoring and
reporting on progress in implementing decisions and continental strategies,” he echoed.

Speaking on behalf of development partners, Dr. Clémence Bare Director, UNAIDS Liaison Office to the African
Union and UNECA emphasized on the importance of fostering strong synergies between African countries to
advance and monitor collective efforts in the implementation of the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS,
tuberculosis, and malaria by 2030 and Africa health strategy.

“Africa needs to adjust promptly and sustain its efforts to protect its citizens. We need to involve the youth of the
continent as a strength, embrace innovation, synergies, scientific knowledge and reinforce strategic
partnerships,” she added.

Mr. Fitsum Lakew Representative from Civil Society Organisation recognised that Africa has come a long way in
addressing the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria yet more needs to be done to ensure equitable
access to quality health services. He then concluded by saluting the Commission for providing a platform for civil
society to play a key role in health response and AU Member States to ensure sustained and impactful
resources for health in Africa.

The experts have deliberated on the milestones attained by AWA through 2018-19 including:
Acceleration of efforts to implement the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa Business Plan.
The Heads of State and Government adopted the Draft Treaty for the establishment of the Africa Medicine
Agency (AMA) during their 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly on 11 February 2019 in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia. To date, the AMA treaty has one ratification and 5 signatories.

Increased political will and commitment towards increased financing for health in Africa. Heads of State
and Government endorsed the Africa Leadership Meeting-Investing in Health (ALM) Declaration in February
2019 which calls on AU Member States to increase resources allocated to health, among other things. The
Commission, through AIDS Watch Africa, held its first technical working group meeting to discuss the roadmap of implementing the Declaration. Deliverables include digitization of the 2019 Africa Scorecard on Health
Financing, regional health financing hubs, an accountability framework and biennial consultative meeting with
Ministers of Health/Finance.

Furthermore, 24 AU Member States pledged a cumulative total of USD 75.20 million for the Sixth Global Fund
Replenishment Cycle (2020-2022). This is a 48% increase in pledges from African countries compared to the
Fifth Replenishment Cycle (2017-2019).

Free to Shine Campaign hits 22 in number of country-launches. Under the leadership of Ministries of Health
and respective Offices of the First Lady, national stakeholders and community leaders, the campaign has been
launched in 22 countries (Niger, Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Burundi, Chad,
Lesotho, Angola, Cap Verde, Mali, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Central African Republic, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia,
Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Liberia ) Increasing interest by countries to launch the Zero Malaria Starts With Me Campaign. The event is co-led by RBM Partnership to End Malaria and has thus far been launched in Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia, Niger, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Eswatini, Gambia and Tanzania have rolled out the campaign.

As we wrap up the meeting today, there will be presentation of the 2019 Africa Scorecard on Domestic Health
Financing to move along the conversation on health financing with the aim to nurture learning and improve
accountability. There will also be a panel discussion on the power of advocacy and the role of community health
workers in the journey to end of the three diseases by 2030. Commendable progress has been made in tackling
the three diseases through advocacy, but a great deal of championing must be done in the decades to come.
Supplementary effort must be made to empower vulnerable members of the society, governments, the media,
and academia to raise their voices, hence the panel discussions.

The three diseases alongside issues of the inadequate health financing are afflicting attainment of equitable,
quality health care for all. Bringing together different stakeholders enhances global solidarity and joint effort to
attain a healthier, happier Africa. The conversations during the 2019 AWA Experts Meeting will build on the draft
decisions submitted for consideration by Heads of States and Government during the AU Summit 2020.

#End

For media and interview inquiry contact:
Ms. Whitney Mwangi
AIDS Watch Africa – African Union Commission
E-mail: WhitneyM@africa-union.org

About AIDS Watch Africa
Website: https://au.int/en/sa/awa and www.aidswatchafrica.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidswatchafrica
Twitter: @aidswatchafrica
AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource
mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by
2030. AWA was created following a special summit of African Heads of State and Government in April 2001 in
Abuja, Nigeria, to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related infectious diseases.
The AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee (AWA Action Committee) serves as the primary
structure of AWA. The AU Chairperson serves as the AWA Chairperson. The Secretariat is located within the
AUC Department of Social Affairs, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.
The overall objective of the AWA Experts Consultative Meeting is to undertake in-depth discussion around
issues impeding the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as public health threats in Africa. The meeting is

annual and provides a platform to highlight issues that should be tabled to Heads of States and Government in
AU Member States during the successive AU Summit.

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The African Union Heads of State and Government endorsed the ‘’Zero Malaria Starts with Me’’ (ZMSWM) Campaign in July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. ZMSWM is a continent-wide campaign to eliminate malaria. The campaign sparks grassroots movements in which all stakeholders—political leaders, the private sector, communities, and other members of society—commit to the fight against malaria. It co-led with RBM Partnership to End Malaria and has thus far been rolled out in 12 countries: Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia, Niger, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Eswatini, Gambia, Tanzania. Read more

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In January 2018, the Commission co-launched the Free To Shine Campaign is led with the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) to reinforce political commitment of African nations to end childhood AIDS and keep mothers healthy. Under the leadership of Ministries of Health and respective Offices of the First Lady, national stakeholders and community leaders, the campaign has been launched in 22 countries: Niger, Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Burundi, Chad, Lesotho, Angola, Cap Verde, Mali, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Central African Republic, Zambia, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Liberia. Read more

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AWA works with all the key AU organs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Health Organizations (RHOs), civil society, the private sector and development agencies to jointly plan and review implementation and coordination of AU continental policies.

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